“If you have not found your life purpose, keep finding it. If you feel a spark inside you, or a moving force that keeps you going, don’t hesitate and just do it, as long as it is the right thing to do, for the greatest benefit of humankind.” ~ Ong JiaXian (in the photo above).
Established in 2012, the Aflame Student Award honours IMU‘s graduating students who have demonstrated exceptional endeavours in the practice of healthcare and community service. The aim of the award is to emphasise, reinforce and enhance the importance of humane principles practices among these students. This year, the Aflame Student Award goes to a Foundation in Science (FIS) student, Ong JiaXian.
Ong JiaXian learnt the concept of active citizens since young and developed volunteerism and active citizenship as his own values. Being an active citizen, he believes that helping the communities in need enriches his life. His parents instilled him with this concept by telling him stories and experiences from their past activities, achievements, and reflections after engaging with the communities. He is enthusiastic in working with issues on mental health, general health, gender inequality and environment.
Inspired by people who needed help on mental health but were hesitant to seek help, he joined as a volunteer for the Malaysian Red Crescent Society Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). He also created a blog website and posted information on social issues to raise awareness among the community.
Through his experiences, he learnt that active listening and empathy played a crucial role to get people to open up and voice out, to seek help when necessary. He was able to enhance his understanding on the importance of leadership and teamwork, problem solving as well as critical thinking through his journey of being a volunteer. During the recent flood relief activity in IMU, he was one of the first students who came to volunteer. “One of my ambitions are to help people in need and to reduce suffering. I find joy in doing voluntary work, because it fulfills my ambition, and also get to socialize with other volunteers.”
One of the most memorable events in his service to the community was the moment when he worked together with other volunteers to give out chocolates to the flood victims, especially the children. This small action was able to cheer them up despite being in a hard time. Working with volunteers with different backgrounds made JiaXian realized that everyone can become friends regardless of status, organization and power.
“I believe that everyone should have some core values that they hold dear to, and some of the core values should include humanitarian principles. I think that the IMU’s core values is a very good place to start. The IMU’s core values comes in the acronym TRUST, which stands for Trustworthiness, Responsiveness, Unity, Service, and Tenacity.”
Written by Dr Leong Hui Yen, Office of Community Engagement at IMU.